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Could a favor for a friend lead to alien smuggling charges?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Your coworker or maybe one of your neighbors comes to you to ask a favor. They have a family member coming into town for a visit, but they can’t host. Maybe they’ve got a dog and their loved one is allergic, or perhaps they just don’t have a spare bedroom but they know that you do.

As a good friend or neighbor, you will likely want to accommodate their request. Letting someone stay at your house for a few days during a vacation may not seem like a big issue, even if there may be a language barrier. What you may not realize is that you could wind up implicated in an alien smuggling operation without intending to break the law at all.

Many undocumented immigrants move through the state of Texas

Texas sees a lot of alien smuggling because of its proximity to Mexico. People from Mexico and other countries in Central and South America will enter the United States via the southern border in Texas.

For many of these people, Texas is just a brief stopping point after they enter the country without documentation. Undocumented immigrants often try to move out of the state into places where immigration enforcement may be less of a cultural and legal focal point.

If someone that you know has family members who want to enter the country without documentation, they may not want to host them at their house out of concern of law enforcement discovering the situation. Having someone provide temporary shelter before their loved ones move on to their final destination might seem like the perfect solution.

However, if they get caught while staying with you or in the future, you might wind up charged as part of a conspiracy involving alien smuggling.

When might you be in legal trouble for hosting someone’s family?

Technically, the rules about alien smuggling or providing shelter for undocumented immigrants are straightforward. Someone should know that the individuals involved are undocumented or in the country illegally for their actions to constitute a crime. The chances are good that your friend or co-worker wouldn’t mention that when making plans with you.